Beyond Main Street

For the last 7 years, I have been giving historical walking tours of my home village--Woodstock, Vermont. I try with each walk to turn this seemingly tidy and wholly unmysterious place upside down and inside out, to create perceptual surprises. That is what I would wish for this blogwalk to do as well. Thanks for joining me.

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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Snooping out the Sophians

Finders keepers

While other investigative journalists have gone to great lengths to penetrate the secrets of Skull & Bones, the Bohemian Grove, or Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry, I am excited to publish this exclusive behind-the-scenes exposé of some of the activities of the enigmatic Sophia Foundation of North America, while they were gathered at the remote Windsong Retreat in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

The first morning I found a small group of Sophians searching the ground feverishly. We believed they were hunting for salamanders or gnomes, but upon further investigation it turned out that the newly-wed Lucky Paul lost a stone from her wedding ring.

Following the mysterious Dr. Robert Powell and his new bride to an exclusive Pittsboro restaurant, Beyond Main Street paparazzi discovered that this esoteric group has as its central fetish object a curious straw hat, which apparently possesses powerful forces of levity.

Newlyweds in hat

M-H in hat

Margaret hat

Annie hat

Marlene hat

Kathy hat

We managed to catch Dr. Powell furtively collaborating with the famous danseuse pour les étoiles, Marie-Hélène Hébert, in what magical act of computing we can scarcely imagine,

Star hunting

although shortly thereafter we found participants cavorting merrily with their newly minted sidereal horoscopes. Out of respect, we will not publish photographs of the numerous participants who fainted away after discovering that their signs had shifted into a new region of the zodiac.

Chart frenzy

One afternoon, we discovered local ringleader Kelly Calegar and the wildwoman Sandy Bisdee being put through ther planetary paces by Dr. Powell.

Planet mimicry

We were relieved to discover that a few men had managed to penetrate the ranks of this Divine Feminine Mystery School.


They too participated in the alchemical hat ritual:

Jim hat

Although we were unable to get photographic evidence of the cosmic dances the group performs, we did witness a harmonious choir one afternoon, under the tutelage of the composer Marcia Burchard, who seemed to radiate an extraordinarily brilliant light during the week.


The most exciting journalistic moment came after an evening lecture by Dr. Powell, when we caught the group in a Bacchanalian feast upon chocolate chip mint ice cream.

Empty Bowls

The Sophians grew quite used to our presence, and at week's close they graciously posed for a group photo. We will return next year and see if we cannot uncover more secrets . . .